Wednesday, August 31, 2016

[Ichthyology • 2016] Redescription of Cheilinus quinquecinctus Rüppell, 1835 (Perciformes, Labridae), A Valid Endemic Red Sea Wrasse

 Cheilinus quinquecinctus  Rüppell, 1835


The labrid fish Cheilinus quinquecinctus Rüppell, originally described from the Red Sea, has long been regarded as a junior synonym of C. fasciatus (Bloch). Herein, both nominal species are redescribed, based on examination of the types and additional material from the Red Sea (for C. quinquecinctus) and the Indo-West Pacific (for C. fasciatus). Rüppell's description of Cheilinus quinquecinctus was originally based on three syntypes, and the most representative adult specimen is designated as the lectotype. We show that Cheilinus quinquecinctus is restricted to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, and it differs from the similar C. fasciatus in having modally fewer gill rakers on the first gill arch, a total of 13–16 (mean 13.9, usually 13 or 14 ) (vs. 13–16, mean 14.7, usually 14 or 15), in developing a ragged posterior margin of the caudal fin with age (versus only upper and lower caudal-fin lobes developing with age), and in its color pattern. The phylogenetic analysis of the COI barcoding region accords with the species status of C. quinquecinctus with the placement of the two sister species in two divergent and reciprocally monophyletic evolutionary lineages. A full description of C. quinquecinctus and diagnosis of C. fasciatus is provided here for comparison. In addition, the data include a table of the results of the meristic and morphological examination of type and additional specimens of both species from throughout their distribution ranges as well as a table of gill-raker counts of all examined specimens. Underwater color photographs are provided for comparison of juveniles, females and males of both species.

Keywords: Pisces, Cheilinus, taxonomy, phylogeography, mitochondrial COI, evolutionary divergence, endemism, Red Sea and Indo-West Pacific

Sergey V. Bogorodsky, Tilman J. Alpermann and Ahmad O. Mal. 2016. Redescription of Cheilinus quinquecinctus Rüppell, 1835 (Pisces: Perciformes, Labridae), A Valid Endemic Red Sea Wrasse. Zootaxa.  4158(4); 451–472. DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4158.4.1

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

[Paleontology • 2016] Liaoningosaurus paradoxus • Fish Hunting Ankylosaurs (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Cretaceous of China

the first carnivorous ornithischian dinosaur, Liaoningosaurus paradoxus 

All ornithischian dinosaurs are herbivorous or omnivorous. Ornithischian Liaoningosaurus paradoxus Xu et al., 2001 is an ankylosaur. Here we report a new specimen of L. paradoxus from China. It contains a number of fish skeletons. We interpret those remains as stomach or gut contents and hence as strong evidence for the meat-eating diet of the dinosaur. With elongate and fork-like denticles of cheek tooth crowns, L. paradoxus has a dentition capable of penetrating into animals like small fishes. The carnivorous adaptation of the dinosaur is also supported by the ungual modification to a sharp claw in both the fore-and hind-limbs. The evolution of a shield-like ventral armor plate and the loose sacrum-pelvic connection suggest that L. paradoxus may have adopted an aquatic way of life,using the ventral armor plate to protect the body from underwater attacks; as such,the open suture between the neural arch and centrum of the vertebrae cannot be used to indicate the juvenile nature of the type specimen. L. paradoxus is the first carnivorous ornithischian dinosaur since dinosaur was first known in the 18th century and represents not only the first aquatic or semi aquatic example of armored dinosaurs but also the smallest species of ornithischian dinosaur so far known.

Key Words: Ankylosauria, Nodosaurids, Early Cretaceous, Yinxian Formation, Western Liaoning 

 Ji Q., Wu X., Cheng Y., Ten F., Wang X. and Ji Y. 2016. Fish Hunting Ankylosaurs (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from the Cretaceous of China. Journal of Geology (Chinese). 40: 183-190; DOI:  10.3969/j.issn.1674-3636.2016.02.183.

[Herpetology • 2009] Gloydius lijianlii • A New Species (Squamata, Viperidae) from the northern Coastal Islands along Shandong Peninsula, China

Gloydius lijianlii 
Jiang & Zhao, 2009  

  The morphological characteristics of thirteen specimens (7♂♂, 6♀♀) on the snake genus Gloydius from northern coastal islands along Shandong Peninsula have been examined,and also compared carefully with reference to the related species records. They are considered as belonging to a new species. Diagnosis of the new species is given as follows.

  Key Words: Reptilia, Squamata, Viperidae, Gloydius, new species.

JIANG Fan and ZHAO Er-Mi. 2009. Gloydius lijianlii, A New Species from the northern Coastal Islands along Shandong Peninsula, China (Reptilia, Squamata, Viperidae). [in Chinese]. Acta Zootaxonomica Sinica. 34(3): 642-646.
江 帆, 赵尔宓. 2009. 山东半岛北部沿岸岛屿蝮属一新种 ( 爬行纲 , 有鳞目, 蝰科).

[Herpetology • 2012] Dendrelaphis nigroserratus • A New Species of Dendrelaphis Boulenger, 1890 (Squamata: Colubridae) from Thailand and Myanmar

Dendrelaphis nigroserratus   
Vogel, Rooijen & Hauser, 2012 

A new species of the colubrid genus Dendrelaphis Boulenger 1890 is described. Dendrelaphis nigroserratus sp. nov. occurs in a part of West Thailand as well as in the extreme south of Myanmar. Morphologically, D. nigroserratus sp. nov. is similar to D. cyanochloris (Wall, 1921) with which it occurs sympatrically. It is distinguished from the latter by its highly conspicuous neck coloration, high incidence of paired postparietal shields and its much larger size. In coloration, it resembles
D. striatus (Cohn, 1906) from which it is distinguished by several aspects of its morphology. The discovery of D. nigroserratus sp. nov. underscores the notion that the hilly western parts of Thailand are in need of further exploration.

Key words: Dendrelaphis cyanochloris, Dendrelaphis nigroserratus sp. nov., Dendrelaphis striatus, Indochina, Southeast Asia, taxonomy

Proposed Thai name: ngu sai man kho dok lueai si dam – งูสายม่านคอดอกเลื่อยสีดำ, งูสายคอฟันเลื่อย

G. Vogel, J.V. Rooijen and S. Hauser. 2012. A New Species of Dendrelaphis Boulenger, 1890 (Squamata: Colubridae) from Thailand and Myanmar. Zootaxa. 3392; 35-46. 

[PaleoOrnithology • 2016] Linyiornis amoena • A New Jehol Enantiornithine Bird from Jiufotang Formation, China, with Three-dimensional Preservation and Ovarian Follicles

Linyiornis amoena 
Wang, Wang, O'Connor, Wang, Xiaoting & Zhang, 2016


 We report a new enantiornithine bird, Linyiornis amoena gen. et sp. nov., from the Lower Cretaceous Jiufotang Formation in northeastern China. Traces of ovarian follicles indicate that the specimen represents a female individual. The nearly three-dimensional preservation of the new specimen reveals morphological details rarely visible in other Early Cretaceous enantiornithines, allowing more detailed comparison with Late Cretaceous enantiornithines. Differences in the preserved morphology of the right and left coracoids suggest that the appearance of some features is strongly affected by preservation, indicating that the distribution of these features in compressed specimens may need to be reevaluated. Like Late Cretaceous enantiornithine specimens, the holotype of Linyiornis amoena preserves a hypertrophied pit for muscle attachment on the bicipital crest but clearly did not preserve a fossa for the capital ligament, present in Late Cretaceous taxa; we discuss the functional morphology and implications of these features in Linyiornis amoena.

FIGURE 2. Photograph of the holotype of Linyiornis amoena, gen. et sp. nov., STM11- 80.
A, skeleton on the main slab; B, close-up of the traces of fossilized ovarian follicles. 

 Yan Wang, Min Wang, Jingmai Kathleen O'Connor, Xiaoli Wang, Zheng Xiaoting and Xiaomei Zhang. 2016. A New Jehol Enantiornithine Bird with Three-dimensional Preservation and Ovarian Follicles. JOURNAL OF VERTEBRATE PALEONTOLOGY. 36(3); e1054496. DOI:  10.1080/02724634.2015.1054496

[Entomology • 2016] Five New Species of Geranomyia Haliday, 1833 (Diptera, Limoniidae) from China

Geranomyia sp.
Zhang, Zhang & Yang, 2016


The following five new species of the genus Geranomyia from China are described and illustrated: Geranomyia baisensis sp. nov., G. degenerata sp. nov., G. longispina sp. nov., G. maculata sp. nov. and G. nigra sp. nov.. Three known species, G. apicifasciata (Alexander, 1930), G. radialis (Alexander, 1930) and G. sparsiguttata (Alexander, 1937), are listed with new distribution data. A key to the species of the genus Geranomyia from China is presented.

Keywords: Diptera, Limoniidae, Geranomyia, new species, China

Xiao Zhang, Zehua Zhang and Ding Yang. 2016. Five New Species of Geranomyia Haliday, 1833 (Diptera, Limoniidae) from China.
 Zootaxa. 4154(2); 139–154. DOI:  10.11646/zootaxa.4154.2.2

[Herpetology • 2016] Theloderma lacustrinum • A New Small-sized Theloderma (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Laos

Theloderma lacustrinum 
Sivongxay, Davankham, Phimmachak, Phoumixay & Stuart, 2016


A new species of the rhacophorid frog genus Theloderma is described from the forested shoreline of the Nam Lik Reservoir, Vientiane Province, Laos. The new species differs from its congeners by having the combination of males with SVL 17.0–20.6; pearly asperities on dorsum; no vomerine teeth; disc diameter of finger III ca. 40% of tympanum diameter; uniformly gray venter; light brown dorsum with darker brown and black markings; and a uniformly bronze iris with small black reticulations. Molecular phylogenetic analysis of mitochondrial DNA sequence data infers that the new species is most closely related to T. lateriticum from northern Vietnam. Evidence for the monophyly of Theloderma is reviewed.

Keywords: Amphibia, Nam Lik Reservoir, FrankixalusNasutixalusTheloderma lateriticumTheloderma moloch

Etymology. The specific epithet taken from lacustrinus L., of lakes, in reference to Nam Lik Reservoir, a large, man-made reservoir formed by a hydropower dam that has inundated the vicinity of the type locality.

Diagnosis. Assigned to the genus Theloderma on the basis of molecular data (Fig. 2). A very small-sized (second smallest known) species of Theloderma having the combination of males with SVL 17.0–20.6; pearly asperities on dorsum; no vomerine teeth; disc diameter of finger III ca. 40% of tympanum diameter; uniformly gray venter; light brown dorsum with darker brown and black markings; and a uniformly bronze iris with small black reticulations.

Distribution, natural history, and conservation. Theloderma lacustrinum sp. nov. is currently known only from the type and paratype localities (Fig. 3), where it was collected at night (1820–2215 h) on leaves 30–80 cm above the ground near two rocky streams (292–361 m elev.) in semi-evergreen forest that flow into the Nam Lik Reservoir (Fig. 1). The two known localities are approximately 5.7 air-km apart. We did not observe the new species at these localities during visits in April, July, and September 2015, suggesting that it may be seasonally active or most detectable during cooler, drier months (e.g., at lower heights in the forest canopy). The vicinity of the two known localities had not been surveyed for amphibians prior to construction of the hydroelectric dam, and thus it is not known how inundation from the reservoir may have impacted the range of the species.

Sivongxay, Niane, Monekham Davankham, Somphouthone Phimmachak, Keochay Phoumixay & Bryan L. Stuart. 2016. A New Small-sized Theloderma (Anura: Rhacophoridae) from Laos. Zootaxa.  4147(4); 433–442.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4147.4.5


[Ornithology • 2007] Reappraisal of the Parrots (Aves: Psittacidae) from the Mascarene Islands, with Comments on Their Ecology, Morphology and Affinities


The parrots (Psittacidae: LophopsittacusPsittaculaNecropsittacusMascarinus) of the Mascarenes (Mauritius, Réunion, Rodrigues) have been relatively poorly studied. Most analyses have been based on a few skins, insufficient fossil material, and unreliable contemporary accounts and illustrations, which have led to erroneous interpretations. The discovery of new fossil remains of parrots and new interpretations of contemporary descriptions and illustrations has clarified many issues. One problematic species, Lophopsittacus bensoni is here removed to the genus Psittacula. A detailed comparative analysis of fossil skeletal elements indicates that the affinities of the Mascarene parrots lie within the Psittaculini, a wide ranging tribe of parrots that occurs mainly in Southeast Asia and Australasia. The Mascarenes are remote volcanic islands and biogeographical evidence presented here suggests that parrots reached this isolated group by island-hopping from India, probably during low sea level stands. 

Key words: Mascarene parrots, extinction , affinities, morphology, ecology, biogeography, Psittaculini, Psittacula bensoni new comb.

 Julian Hume. 2007. Reappraisal of the Parrots (Aves: Psittacidae) from the Mascarene Islands, with Comments on Their Ecology, Morphology, and Affinities. Zootaxa. 1513; 1-76. 

[Crustacea • 2016] Parastacus fluviatilis & P. caeruleodactylus • Two New Species of South American Freshwater Crayfish Genus Parastacus Huxley, 1879 (Decapoda: Parastacidae)

 Parastacus fluviatilis Ribeiro, Buckup, Gomes & Araujo, 2016
from highland streams in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil


Two new species of Parastacus Huxley, 1879 are described from material collected in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, southern Brazil: Parastacus fluviatilis sp. nov. from highland streams and Parastacus caeruleodactylus sp. nov. from wetlands. Parastacus fluviatilis sp. nov. is distinguished mainly by large chelipeds with dense setae cover on the cutting edge of fingers, telson subtriangular with two lateral blunt spines and strongly concave ventral surface of lateral process of thoracic sternites 6 and 7. Parastacus caeruleodactylus sp. nov. is distinguished mainly by blue cheliped fingers and a large gap between them, reduced abdomen, dorsal and ventral margins of dactylus, propodus and carpus of second pair of pereiopods with tufts of long setae and mid-dorsal carina of exopod of uropods unarmed. According to IUCN Red List criteria both species are considered endangered. Habitat characterization and a method for defining the shape of second abdominal pleura are also provided.

Keywords: Crustacea, burrowing crayfish, freshwater decapods, neotropical crustaceans, parastacid, taxonomy

Felipe Bezerra Ribeiro, Ludwig Buckup, Kelly Martinez Gomes and Paula Beatriz Araujo. 2016. Two New Species of South American Freshwater Crayfish Genus Parastacus Huxley, 1879 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Parastacidae). Zootaxa. 4158(3); 301–324.  DOI: 10.11646/zootaxa.4158.3.1

Monday, August 29, 2016

[Herpetology • 2016] Microendemicity in the northern Hajar Mountains of Oman and the United Arab Emirates with the Description of Two New Species of Geckos of the Genus Asaccus (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae); Asaccus gardneri & A. margaritae

 Asaccus gardneri & A. margaritae 
 Carranza​​, Simó-Riudalbas​, Jayasinghe, Wilms & Els, 2016 

DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2371

The Hajar Mountains of Oman and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is the highest mountain range in Eastern Arabia. As a result of their old geological origin, geographical isolation, complex topography and local climate, these mountains provide an important refuge for endemic and relict species of plants and animals with strong Indo-Iranian affinities. Among vertebrates, the rock climbing nocturnal geckos of the genus Asaccus represent the genus with the highest number of endemic species in the Hajar Mountains. Recent taxonomic studies on the Zagros populations of Asaccus have shown that this genus is much richer than it was previously thought and preliminary morphological and molecular data suggest that its diversity in Arabia may also be underestimated.

A total of 83 specimens originally classified as Asaccus caudivolvulus (including specimens of the two new species described herein), six other Asaccus species from the Hajar and the Zagros Mountains and two representatives of the genus Haemodracon were sequenced for up to 2,311 base pairs including the mitochondrial 12S and cytb and the nuclear c-mos, MC1R and ACM4 genes. Phylogenetic relationships were inferred using both Bayesian and maximum-likelihood approaches and the former method was also used to calibrate the phylogenetic tree. Haplotype networks and phylogenetic trees were inferred from the phased nuclear genes only. Sixty-one alcohol-preserved adult specimens originally classified as Asaccus caudivolvulus from the northern Hajar Mountains were examined for 13 morphometric and the five meristic variables using multivariate methods and were also used to diagnose and describe the two new species.

The results of the molecular and morphological analyses indicate that the species originally classified as Asaccus caudivolvulus is, in fact, an assemblage of three different species that started diversifying during the Mid-Miocene. The molecular phylogenies consistently recovered the Hajar endemic A. montanus as sister taxon to all the other Asaccus species included in the analyses, rendering the Arabian species of Asaccus polyphyletic.

Using this integrative approach we have uncovered a very old diversification event that has resulted in a case of microendemicity, where three morphologically and ecologically similar medium-sized lizard species coexist in a very short and narrow mountain stretch. Asaccus caudivolvulus is restricted to a small coastal area of the UAE and at risk from heavy development, while the two new species described herein are widely distributed across the northern tip of the Hajar Mountains and seem to segregate in altitude when found in close proximity in the Musandam Peninsula (Oman). Similarly to other integrative analyses of Hajar reptiles, this study highlights the high level of diversity and endemicity of this arid mountain range, underscoring its status as one of the top hotspots of reptile diversity in Arabia.

Keywords: Phylogeny, Systematics, Arabia, Diversification, Reptiles, Speciation, Taxonomy, Evolution, Mountains, Biogeography

Salvador Carranza​​, Marc Simó-Riudalbas​, Sithum Jayasinghe, Thomas Wilms and Johannes Els. 2016. Microendemicity in the northern Hajar Mountains of Oman and the United Arab Emirates with the Description of Two New Species of Geckos of the Genus Asaccus (Squamata: Phyllodactylidae).  PeerJ. 4:e2371. DOI: 10.7717/peerj.2371


[Ornithology • 2016] Genomic Variation Across the Yellow-rumped Warbler (Setophaga coronata) Species Complex

The four forms of Yellow-rumped Warbler, Setophaga coronata, have distinct breeding ranges, with a narrow hybrid zone between Myrtle and Audubon's in western Canada. The researchers suggest that Myrtle, Audubon's and Goldman's are separate species. It's equivocal whether Black-fronted should be treated as a separate species or a subspecies of Audubon's. 
Image by David Toews.    

Populations that have experienced long periods of geographic isolation will diverge over time. The application of high-throughput sequencing technologies to study the genomes of related taxa now allows us to quantify, at a fine scale, the consequences of this divergence across the genome. Throughout a number of studies, a notable pattern has emerged. In many cases, estimates of differentiation across the genome are strongly heterogeneous; however, the evolutionary processes driving this striking pattern are still unclear. Here we quantified genomic variation across several groups within the Yellow-rumped Warbler species complex (Setophaga spp.), a group of North and Central American wood warblers. We showed that genomic variation is highly heterogeneous between some taxa and that these regions of high differentiation are relatively small compared to those in other study systems. We found that the clusters of highly differentiated markers between taxa occur in gene-rich regions of the genome and exhibit low within-population diversity. We suggest these patterns are consistent with selection, shaping genomic divergence in similar genomic regions across the different populations. Our study also confirms previous results relying on fewer genetic markers that several of the phenotypically distinct groups in the system are also genomically highly differentiated, likely to the point of full species status.

Keywords: evolutionary genomics, hybridization, gene flow, genotyping-by-sequencing, speciation, natural selection

The Myrtle form breeds in eastern and northern North America. The male's white throat distinguishes it from the three other forms, along with other differences.  
Photo by Kelly Colgan Azar via Birdshare.

David P. L. Toews, Alan Brelsford, Christine Grossen, Borja Milá, and Darren E. Irwin. 2016. Genomic Variation Across the Yellow-rumped Warbler Species Complex  [Variación genómica a través del complejo de especies de Setophaga coronata]. The Auk. 133(4); 698-717.  DOI: 10.1642/AUK-16-61.1

'Butterbutt' warbler is likely three different species, DNA reveals via @physorg_com
Goodbye, Yellow-Rump: Will We See A Return To Myrtle And Audubon’s Warblers?

RESUMEN: Las poblaciones que han experimentado largos periodos de aislamiento geográfico se diferenciarán con el paso del tiempo. La aplicación de tecnologías de secuenciación de alto rendimiento para el estudio de los genomas de taxones relacionados ahora nos permite cuantificar a escala fina las consecuencias de esta divergencia s través del genoma. Luego de numerosos estudios emerge un patrón notable: en muchos casos los estimados de diferenciación a través del genoma son fuertemente heterogéneos. Sin embargo, los procesos evolutivos que gobiernan este patrón aún no son claros. En este estudio cuantificamos la variación genómica a través de varios grupos dentro del complejo de especies de Setophaga coronata, un grupo de reinitas de Norte y Centroamérica. Mostramos que la variación genómica es altamente heterogénea entre algunos de los taxones y que las regiones de alta diferenciación son relativamente pequeñas en comparación con otros sistemas de estudio. Encontramos que las agrupaciones de marcadores áltamente diferenciados entre taxones se encuentran en regiones del genoma ricas en genes y también muestran baja diversidad intrapoblacional. Sugerimos que estos patrones son consistentes con un efecto de procesos de selección natural sobre la divergencia genómica en regiones genómicas similares a través de las diferentes poblaciones. Nuestro estudio también confirma resultados previos basados en pocos marcadores genéticos en los que se determinó que muchos de los grupos fenotípicamente distintos en este sistema también están áltamente diferenciados en sus genomas, probablemente al punto en que pueden ser consideradas con el estatus de especie.

Palabras clave: especiación, flujo genético, genómica evolutiva, genotipado por secuenciación, hibridación, selección natural

D. P. L. Toews, A. Brelsford and D. E. Irwin. 2014. Isotopic variation across the Audubon's–Myrtle warbler hybrid zone. Journal of Evolutionary Biology. 27(6); 1179-1191. DOI: 10.1111/jeb.12392 

[Ichthyology • 2005] Validity of the Scorpionfish Genus Hipposcorpaena and A Redescription of H. filamentosa Fowler (Scorpaeniformes: Scorpaenidae)

Hipposcorpaena filamentosa  

Fowler, 1938 

The validity of the poorly known monotypic scorpionfish genus Hipposcorpaena Fowler is confirmed, and H. filamentosa Fowler is redescribed. The genus is characterized by the following characters: dorsal fin with 12 spines and 9 soft rays; anal fin with 2 spines and 6 soft rays; pectoral fin with 14 rays; lower pectoral fin rays slender, filamentous; longest ray extending well beyond vertical from posterior end of anal fin base; all dorsal and anal fin soft rays (except last ray of each fin divided into 2 at base), and all pectoral and caudal fin rays unbranched; head and body strongly compressed; body deep, depth 39.5%~41.2% of standard length; body covered with small cycloid scales; no palatine teeth; interorbital ridges present; tympanic spine present; posttemporal spine simple, lacking upper posttemporal spine; lower caudal fin with 1~4 distinct black spots, greater in width than orbit diameter; mature adult size at least 35.2 mm SL.

Key words: Scorpaenidae, Genus, Hipposcorpaena, Redescription, Hipposcorpaena filamentosa.

Hiroyuki Motomura and Hiroshi Senou. 2005. Validity of the Scorpionfish Genus Hipposcorpaena Fowler and A Redescription of H. filamentosa Fowler (Scorpaeniformes: Scorpaenidae).  Zoological Studies. 44(2): 210-218.